published on September 13, 2016 - 7:29 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff
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Fresno State is No. 1, according to U.S. News and World Report’s 2017 Best College rankings issued today.

Specifically, Fresno State is tops in the country for graduation rate performance amongst public universities, and was No. 3 overall.

Fresno State’s reclassification as a doctoral university means it has joined the top research universities in the nation in rankings produced by the magazine. This year Fresno State ranked in the first tier of all schools and was No. 220 in the nation. Princeton University was ranked No. 1.

“To be evaluated in the same league as universities like Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Stanford speaks to the bold level of educational opportunity and quality we offer the students of the Central Valley,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “The leap we took into the national rankings is like moving into the academic equivalent of the top athletic conference.
 
“Student success is one of the priorities in our new Strategic Plan, and it’s clear that academics and athletics are rising together at Fresno State,” Castro added.
 
Among the 23 campuses in the California State University system, Fresno is one of four to compete at the national level, including San Diego State University (No. 146) and CSU Fullerton (No. 202) in the first tier and San Francisco State (No. 256) in the second tier.
 
Last year, before Fresno was elevated to the higher national doctoral university category, it was considered a master’s degree university and ranked No. 12 among public regional universities in the West.
 
U.S. News and World Report evaluates campuses on multiple factors. The magazine gives the most weight to graduation and retention rates and undergraduate academic reputation, followed by faculty resources, student selectivity, financial resources, graduation rate performance and alumni giving.
 
Fresno State achieved a strong showing despite reporting far lower educational expenditure per student than most universities. Yale, which ranked No. 3 overall, spends the most, an average of $222,546 per student each year. The national average is $37,373, while Fresno State spends just $12,030 per student each year.

The U.S. News ranking follows last month’s ranking of Fresno State as No. 25 in the nation by Washington Monthly, a D.C.-based magazine that ranks institutions on social mobility, research and service. That magazine cited Fresno State as an “instructive example” of schools that enroll many low-income students and help them graduate.


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